REUTERS - Substitute Peter Crouch scored a late winner as Stoke City beat Southampton 2-1 on Saturday to claim their first Premier League victory since August.
The imposing former England forward poked home from close range in the 85th minute, 15 minutes after coming on, to seal only the second victory of the season for the Potters.
Captain Maya Yoshida had appeared to rescue a point for Southampton after he fired home a 75th-minute equaliser to cancel out Mame Biram Diouf’s headed opener in the 40th minute.
Stoke’s Sadio Berahino missed a first-half penalty to extend his goalless streak to 30 games, while Southampton’s Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk -- who submitted a transfer request in the summer -- made his first start since January.
“I am very pleased to get the goal and it was backs to the wall at the end. It’s very nice to come off the bench and get the winner,” Crouch told the BBC.
”I am still knocking on the door, I still feel fit and I want to start games but I am realistic.
“I have not actually retired from international football so hopefully I have made an impact (for a call-up).”
Having pulled level, Southampton appeared most likely to score a winner with Yoshida falling inches short of converting a free kick just seconds before Crouch sealed the victory.
”We have dropped so many points already this season and it is so disappointing,“ Yoshida told the BBC. ”We conceded a very cheap goal late on and are totally disappointed.
”Virgil van Dijk is one of the best defenders in the Premier League and he did not play for eight months.
”He needed time to get his fitness back but we have good competition between the players. I can only focus on myself.
“My goal means very little to me because we lost the points. Hopefully another goal is coming for me in the next game.”
Stoke Climb to 13th with eight points and trail Southampton, in 12th, on goal difference.
Reporting By Tom Hayward; Editing by Clare Fallon and Pritha Sarkar